• Anna Wang

My Daily Monologue (September 2022)

September 1, 2022

Commuting to school every day draws me closer to current events since I have time listening to podcasts. (Day 60)


September 2, 2022

After a week’s reading of Austen, I now can talk like this: “As a student of literature, I’m very much obliged to see a Shakespeare play.” (Day 61)



September 3, 2022

"Writers Gonna Write." Once every month, a couple of professors and writing students at our school would hold a 3-hour group writing session. We log into a Zoom room, say hello, briefly share our goals, and then start writing silently. Today I finished the second draft of an essay in the "pleasure/pressure of each other's company." I hadn't had time to feel content before I got word that a friend was visiting. I immediately drove north to meet the friend and had a happy afternoon catching up. Writers gonna meet kindred spirits, indeed. Any one brought up in China would smile conspiratorially seeing that I entitle today’s entry,“快乐的一天.”(Day 62)


September 4, 2022

I went out to throw away garbage and was almost choked by the heat. San Diego is so hot! But what is the temperature exactly? Google tells me it is 85F. That’s strange. When I was in Beijing, it was easy to see 100F in the summer, and 85F would be a blessing. Sense and sensibility. Austen Forever. (Day 63)


September 5, 2022

I’m taking “Romantic Literature,” “American Literature after 1900,” “World Literature,” “Literary Analysis,” and “Women in the Christian Tradition” this semester. One of the benefits of taking these classes is that I get to read literature from different times simultaneously. Today, after finishing the last few chapters of “Sense and Sensibility,” I went on to read “The Dead” and “Cathedral.” This mix-and-match way of reading impacted me as greatly as time travel. Although Austen is critical of society, she shows cordiality toward life; In James Joyce’s world, the fire of life becomes precarious; by Raymond Carver, the fire has been almost put out, and life is so bleak. The trajectory from being hopeful to hopeless is perceivable. How do you explain this trend? Either life is becoming increasingly hopeless, or more depressed writers get on the stage. Which one is your pick? (Day 64)


September 6, 2022

Almost every day, I saw a student on campus walking with a fracture boot on one foot or a pair of crutches under both arms. Only today did I realize the significance of this sight: they had an active summer. They’re young and can afford to do silly things and get hurt. (Day 65)


September 7, 2022

My world literature professor said that “The Odyssey” influenced many works. She mentioned that “Oh Brother, Where Art There” were loosely based on “The Odyssey” but the Coen brothers claimed they never read “The Odyssey.” My professor wished that she could challenge them. (Day 66)


September 8, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II passed today. The news reminds me that I’m a Canadian citizen and a subject of Her Majesty even though I’ve been living for years in the land which at time was at war with the Crown. My respect and affection for her, as a woman who had been faithful to her duties, is beyond words. (Day 67)


September 9, 2022

Do you like King Charles III’s first speech? I think it's decent. I still miss Princess Diana though. It’s a shame she didn’t make it this far. Life is not fair. (Day 68)


September 10, 2022

I wrote an essay in Chinese. Writing in Chinese is my nemesis. I wanted to quit writing in Chinese, but I relented when an editor asked me. After all, some readers out there want to read my Chinese. Very few, if not none at all, want to read my English. (Day 69)


September 11, 2022

I was still in China when the 9/11 attack happened. I was packing for the trip the next day, the first trip I would ever make after my daughter was born in 2000. A friend called me, demanding me to turn on the TV. She sounded bewildered, not believing what she just saw. The scene terrified me and weakened my desire to travel. Suddenly I felt distrust in all transportation methods, especially airplanes. Later I encounter twice literary writers’ reaction to 911. The first is Ann Beattie’s “A Wonderful Stroke of Luck,” and the second is John Updike’s “Varieties of Religious.” Both convey the sense of distrust brought about by the tragic event. I remember the first sentence in Updike’s story is, “There is no God.” (Day 70)


September 12, 2022

Today I learned a word: egalitarianism. (Day 71)


September 13, 2022

We read “In Country” today. Our professor spent a few minutes explaining what a collect call was. I felt so old because I knew about collect calls. Later, the characters run around, unplugging the appliances when thunderstorms come, and I was like, “I’ve done that too.” (Day 72)


September 14, 2022

1 pm is the sweetest time on campus. The lunch hassle is over. Residential students lounge in their dorm rooms. Afternoon classes are half an hour away. This serene, gorgeous terrace belongs wholly to us commuters. (Day 73)



September 15, 2022

I love my professor. She teaches “Women in Christian Tradition” but frowns upon identity politics. Today she let us read Dorothy Sayers, who pointed out: “To oppose one class perpetually to another, young against old, manual labour against brain-worker, rich against poor, woman against man, is to split the foundations of the State.” I couldn’t agree with her more. (Day 74)


September 16, 2022

Sweet, sweet Friday. Homework goes away. (Day 75)


September 17, 2022

School library on Saturday afternoon is so quiet. I almost fell into the impression that I was the only student going to this school had I not seen boys and girls walk by, down on the beach, through this stunning floor-to-ceiling window. Old people should go to school while young people should have a good time. (Day 76)


September 18, 2022

I submitted an essay to our school’s newspaper. I’m very nervous because this is the first time that I really wrote in English, instead of having a Chinese version first and then translating it into English. What if I get rejected by the editors whose ages are that of my daughter? My friend was like, “If they rejected you, you’d talk to their moms.” I would if my daughter listened to me. (Day 77)


September 19, 2022

I have no idea what the professor asked us to do

With confusion, I come to today’s class

With amazement, I see your work.

—duly inspired by ancient Greek poets (Day 78)


September 20, 2022

It turns out that in Hebrew Bible, when God warns the first human not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge, the verb form is in the second person masculine singular, which means the “you” in “you shall not eat” refers to Adam only. So, don’t blame Eve. (Day 79)


September 21, 2022

According to my textbook, Sophocles was well-educated. I wonder if it is easier for an ancient Athenian to be well-educated than we are today. After all, they didn’t have the volumes and volumes of the Norton Anthology to read. If you had read Homer from cover to cover, you were the most erudite man. (Day 80)


September 22, 2022

My essay, "An Office of One's Own," is published in our school's newspaper. Here's the link to the article. (Day 81)



September 23, 2022

Friday night. Waiting for the movie to start. (Day 82)


September 24, 2022

My son and daughter have different takes on my essay. My son thinks I’m good at theme development. My daughter thinks the dog imagery is interesting. (Day 83)


September 25, 2022

I use Grammarly to check my writing. Today it suggested me to change “a slave” to “an enslaved person” because “slave may be considered dehumanizing toward people subjected to slavery.” Political correctness is hilarious. Since I’m quoting Aristotle, so no. (Day 84)


September 26, 2022

A classmate of mine asked me, “Did you do any crazy things on the weekends?” I said I never did crazy things, not on weekends, not at year ends. She laughed, “Come on!” It amazes me that “come on” has multitudinous meanings in American English. It may mean, “Don’t lie to me. Just spill the crazy things you did!” or, “Don’t be a bore. Just find some crazy things to do!” What does she mean? (Day 85)


September 27, 2022

It’s incredible that we are still discovering ancient Greek literature. In 2004, a new fragment of one of Sappho’s poems was discovered in the papier-mâché–type wrapping used on an Egyptian mummy. How cool it would be if we saw it on our computer, “Google news alert: another Sappho’s poem was just unearthed. (Day 86)


September 28, 2022

We performed “Medea” in our school’s Greek amphitheater. I played a part in the chorus. Very fun. (Day 87)


September 29, 2022

Wet particles float in the air. Fog brought back the memory of my home. It usually would dissipate when I arrived at school, but today it hung in there when the second class ended. (Day 88)


September 30, 2022

Due to medical reasons, I couldn’t drink coffee today. But I survived and got a full score on a test. (Day 89)



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